While Sean O’Malley may split opinion among the combat sports community, “Sugar” believes there’s one UFC fighter who certainly does the opposite.
O’Malley’s rise to stardom has been relatively rapid. That’s immediately one reason why a portion of fans dislike the charismatic rising bantamweight. That, coupled with his confident and outgoing personality, means many actively root against the 27-year-old. That was no different when he returned to action earlier this month at UFC 269.
Having rebounded from his first professional MMA loss with back-to-back third-round finishes against Thomas Almeida and Kris Moutinho earlier this year, the Montana native hoped to make it three from three inside a sold-out T-Mobile Arena at the year’s final pay-per-view. In the main card opener, he did just that, brutally knocking Raulian Paiva out before the close of the opening round.
O’Malley Says Everyone Loves A Bit Of “Bam Bam”
Having been content facing unranked opposition, “Sugar” will seemingly receive the pay bump he’s been after in the near future and be up against top opposition in 2022. But despite continuing his rise and easily dispatching of Paiva, who many thought would give him trouble, O’Malley certainly still has his fair share of doubters in the community.
According to the 27-year-old, that’s a good thing. During the UFC 269 post-fight press conference, O’Malley was asked whether it frustrates him when fans and pundits pick little things to criticize him about. In his mind, he wouldn’t be the star he is without being disliked by a large portion of the UFC fanbase. He suggested there’s only one man truly loved by everyone, and that’s Tai Tuivasa.
“That means I’m doing it right. If everyone just loved me, then I probably wouldn’t be as big as I am. I think there’s only probably one person that everyone loves and that’s Tai Tuivasa. I think he’s the only one. How could you not like that guy? But for me, I could see how people don’t like me. But I guarantee they watched me tonight. I guarantee they did not turn the TV, they didn’t get up to go to the bathroom, they probably weren’t even eating or drinking. I bet they were locked into that TV when I was fighting.”
Like O’Malley, Tuivasa was also in action at UFC 269. If fans didn’t go for a toilet break during the O’Malley vs. Paiva clash, hopefully, they didn’t do it for the Tuivasa vs. Sakai fight earlier in the night.
If they did, they’d have missed a combination of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, a brutal knockout, and multiple shoeys…
Whether it’s the combination of vicious KO power and hilarious ’90’s pop walkouts, or the combination of in-Octagon performance and post-fight shoeys, or all three combined, fans love Tuivasa and the energy and entertainment he brings on fight night.
But as well as being as loved as O’Malley says, “Bam Bam” is also a fast-rising heavyweight with time on his side. At just 28, the Australian has already established himself just outside the top 10 and is riding a four-fight win streak following triumphs over Stefan Struve, Harry Hunsucker, Greg Hardy, and Sakai.
We’ve certainly got many more years of KO’s and cheesy walkout songs in front of us.
Do you agree with Sean O’Malley? Is Tai Tuivasa the one fighter universally loved?